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Arafura dances : concerto for guitar & string orchestra

by Ross Edwards (1995)

Also known as: Concerto for guitar and string orchestra

Score Sample

View a sample of the score of this work

Audio Sample

Performance by Karin Schaupp, Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, Richard Mills from the CD White ghost dancing

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Concerto / John Williams, guitar.

Library shelf no. CD 2534 [Not for loan]

Arafura dances


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Arafura dances : concerto for guitar and strings / Ross Edwards.

Library shelf no. Q 784.72787/EDW 1 [Available for loan]

Display all products featuring this work (8 more)  

Work Overview

Arafura Dances is in three movements: a lyrical and expressive adagio framed by two pulsating maninyas (Australian dance/chants) in which references to a variety of Australasian and Pacific musical cultures are woven into a fabric of insect rhythms and drones. Edwards, clearly under the spell of Darwin and coastal Arnhem Land as he composed, refers to the turquoise Arafura Sea as a constant backdrop. Other influences include flora and fauna of the region and the colourful Macassan sailing boats in Darwin's Maritime Museum. Edwards also mentions Ian Morris's photograph "of a gloriously flowering Red Bud Mallee against a deep blue sky", an image he likes to think is "somehow inlaid in the music".

Originally composed as a Guitar Concerto for John Williams, who gave the first performance with the Darwin Symphony in 1995, Ross Edwards arranged the work for string quartet especially for performance at the 2006 Australian Festival of Chamber Music in Townsville, where it was performed for the first time by Marshall McGuire (who also transcribed the guitar part for harp) and the Goldner String Quartet.

Work Details

Year: 1995

Instrumentation: Guitar, string orchestra.

Duration: 18 min.

Difficulty: Advanced — Professional.

Contents note: I. First Maninya -- II. Arafura Arioso -- III. Second Maninya.

Dedication note: Dedicated to John Williams

Commission note: Commissioned by Darwin International Guitar Festival with funds provided by Australia Council.

First performance: by John Williams, Darwin Symphony Orchestra, Martin Jarvis — 7 Jul 95. The lawns of the Darwin Casino.

Winner of the Orchestral Work of the Year Award in the 2005 APRA-Australian Music Centre Classical Music Awards.

Awards & Prizes

Year Award Placing Awarded for/to
2005 Classical Music Awards - Orchestral Work of the Year Winner Ross Edwards


Performances of this work

23 Sep 2018: at Serenades & Dances (Mittagong Playhouse). Featuring Shilong Ye, Steel City Strings, Aleksandr Tsiboulski.

22 Sep 2018: at Serenades & Dances (Wollongong Art Gallery). Featuring Aleksandr Tsiboulski, Shilong Ye, Steel City Strings.

16 Sep 2018: at Serenades & Dances (The Pavilion Kiama). Featuring Aleksandr Tsiboulski, Shilong Ye, Steel City Strings.

15 May 2015: at Celebrating Marshall McGuire’s Birthday (Melbourne Recital Centre, Primrose Potter Salon). Featuring Marshall McGuire, Flinders Quartet.

15 Feb 2015: at Marshall McGuire and Friends (Sydney Opera House, Utzon Room). Featuring Flinders Quartet, Marshall McGuire.

27 Jun 2011: at English Chamber Orchestra & John Williams (Guildhall Old Library). Featuring English Chamber Orchestra, Paul Watkins, John Williams.

7 Jul 95: The lawns of the Darwin Casino.. Featuring Darwin Symphony Orchestra, Martin Jarvis, John Williams.

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